Strategies to Improve Your Test Scores!

24 Oct

multiple choice

I know, you’ve heard it before. “Free Testing Tips” that turn out to be things like “sleep and study more.” But I’m not writing this to waste your time with things you already know. This is all about ways to attack the test once it’s sitting in front of you. Step-by-step instructions to improve your score as well as strategies for different kinds of questions.

The Test:

1) Look over the entire test. Flip through the pages. This gives you an idea of how long it is so you can budget your time accordingly. This also helps on tests with multiple pages because you can make sure you have all the pages and whether that last sheet has a backside.

2) Skim the questions. Find ones that you recognize or know the answer to, and do them first. This boosts your confidence and gets you started on the right foot.

3) Skip questions that you don’t know, but make sure you mark them! Circle the number on the test booklet or scantron.That way you’ll know which ones to come back to without searching.

4) Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. The professor and TAs aren’t only there to make sure there’s no cheating. They helped write the test, so they know what the questions are asking.

5) Always, always, always go over your exam after you’ve answered all the questions. If time is limited, simply check to make sure you answered each question. If you have more time, read through your answers just to double-check. Sometimes we get going and pick answers that we know are wrong because we’re going too fast.


Multiple Choice:

1) Remind yourself that the answer is right in front of you. It has to be one of the choices.

2) Answer choices with words like “never” or “always” are usually not the answer, as most rules have exceptions.

3) If “all the above” is a choice, you only have to find two that are correct, then move on to the next question.

4) IF ALL ELSE FAILS answer “B” or “C”. If you have absolutely no idea whether a single answer is correct or incorrect, just guess and move on. Answer “A” is usually least likely to be correct because test-makers want to “hide” answers. These are not hard and fast rules, but they help if you’re forced to guess.


Free Response:

1) Read the prompt or question slowly, and even take notes if it is fairly long. Underline, highlight, scratch out, anything that will help you organize your thoughts.

2) Outline your answer. Even if it only has to be a few sentences, write down key words you want to remember while you’re writing.

3) Be concise. If you get too wordy, they’ll know you don’t know what you’re talking about.

4) Answer the question. Okay, I know I promised I wouldn’t give any obvious tips, but this one is actually a lot harder than it may seem. A lot of times we get caught up in our ideas and the question changes in our mind.

Hope these tips helped! Just remember to go into the exam with confidence!


One Response to “Strategies to Improve Your Test Scores!”


  1. Study Diagnosis: What Tips Are Best for You? | Student Affairs Outreach - April 10, 2013

    […] Strategies to Improve Your Test Scores […]

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